DUBAI // The French actor Jean Reno, Sean Penn, Colin Firth, Ayman Zeidan and Ahmad Bedir are among the celebrities who will attend next month's Dubai International Film Festival (Diff).
Reno collaborated with the little-known director Abdulla al Kaabi, who is from Fujairah, on The Philosopher. The tale of a pianist and footballer who gives up everything, it will screen during the December 12-19 event as part of the Muhr Emirati Awards.
The full slate of films and stars was revealed yesterday at a press conference in the Mina A'Salam Hotel.
The festival's chairman, Abdulhamid Juma, called this year's event the biggest and best yet. Of the 157 films to be screened, 41 will be world premieres and 70 hail from the Arab world.
One of the most notable films at this year's festival is 678. The 100-minute feature, set in Cairo and directed by Mohamed Diab, is a story of sexual harassment told from three perspectives.
Another film that is generating interest is The Way Back, starring Colin Farrell and Ed Harris. It was co-produced by National Geographic Entertainment and Imagenation Abu Dhabi. (Imagenation Abu Dhabi is owned by Abu Dhabi Media Company, which publishes The National.)
Penn, who recently starred in Fair Game, a film about the Iraq war that was screened at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival last month, will be honoured with a lifetime achievement award at the Diff, as will Sabah, a veteran Lebanese actress, and Souleymane Cisse, a director from Mali.
Films will be screened at the Madinat Jumeirah, Mall of the Emirates and a new outdoor screen at Jumeirah Beach Residence. Tickets go on sale today and are available online at www.dubaifilmfest.com